If I could tune our radio into a worm hole and communicate with myself of twenty years ago, I might tell Younger Chuck about some of today’s technology in the hopes that he could leverage that info and make Today Me a gazillionaire. Just being honest.
One of those technologies I might tip him off on is YouTube. And because I know both parties quite well, I can imagine the conversation to go something like:
Older Chuck: It’s a website where anyone in the world can upload their own videos.
Younger Chuck: (after a very, very intelligent pause) Why?
Older Chuck: (after very, very wise consideration) I have no idea.
Truthfully, I wouldn’t have to speak across time to explain YouTube to someone. Believe it our not, there are people in the here-and-now who never use YouTube. My brother-in-law, I’m pretty sure, has no more YouTubed than he’s Instagrammed. Or Pinterested or Snapchatted or Tweeted or Stumbledupon…or shopped on Amazon, for that matter.
To the YouTube-challenged still among us, I’ll describe YouTube as a repository of billions and billions of publicly contributed videos with precisely 6 worth watching.
I jest, of course! There’s AT LEAST a dozen YouTube videos actually worth watching. And here, dear readers, is a blog on some of those more worthwhile videos you might consider watching.
All kidding aside (well, maybe not “all”, technically), there are a few really awesome YouTube “channels” with some great travel-related content. Calling them “channels” is a slight misnomer, hearkening 20 years back when channels actually meant something. A YouTube channel is really just a collection of videos submitted by a particularly user. Did you know Lori and I even have one? Yeah, they let everyone have one. Ours is https://www.youtube.com/user/travelworkplay. Feel free to subscribe and join our legions of half-a-dozen followers.
Now, should you Google or search on YouTube for travel channels, you’ll find hundreds, perhaps thousands (not exaggerating), of channels representing billions of videos (only slightly exaggerating). Almost all of them are travel bloggers and vloggers and Samantha Brown wannabes and 20-something me-toos with dreams of being discovered by the Travel Channel and instantly made household names and reality TV stars.
Not so here. Instead, our list is of actual professional and semi-pro travel-related YouTube channels, allowing you to cut through the chaff and actually ENJOY your time on YouTube. Without further ado…
Favorite YouTube Travel Channel #5: Expoza Travel
Expoza Travel has a large library of inspirational and informative travel videos covering destinations around the globe. Many videos are “bite-sized”, 4 to 10 minutes, great intros to interesting places, but they also have (practically) feature-length videos of 45-minutes (or so) that you could easily imagine channel surfing across on the Travel Channel or Smithsonian Channel.
Favorite YouTube Travel Channel #4: CNN Travel
Leave your political leanings at the curb: when it comes to travel content, CNN Travel really is “fair and balanced”. And their videos demonstrate the professionalism and resources of a multinational content conglomerate. Informative, beautiful photography, interesting destinations, and useful.
Favorite YouTube Travel Channel #3: Rick Steves
We are reformed RickNics, to be honest, having long ago graduated from his target market of people vacationing to Europe as a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Still, his trademarked Europe Through The Backdoor, connect-with-the-locals philosophy still resonates with us. Rick’s YouTube channel is jam-packed with snippets and full videos from his impressive library of shows originally produced for, and aired on, PBS.
Favorite YouTube Travel Channel #2: Amazing Places On Our Planet
This channel was a recent discovery of ours as we researched America’s western national parks for our upcoming tour of the west. Nomadic videographer Milosh Kitchovitch has assembled an impressive collection of beautifully produced ultra HD videos that showcases both natural beauty and splendid destinations from his travels (his videos on Glacier National Park and Venice are my favorites). That Milosh single-handedly collected all the beautiful imagery on his channel is also impressive and a testament to his great eye. If someone deserves to be “discovered”, it’s this guy.
Favorite YouTube Travel Channel #1: Expedia
And at the top of our list is Expedia, the online travel booking people. With a huge library of right-lengthed videos of destinations around the world, Expedia’s obvious goal is to inspire travel…that might result in booking with them. Their videos are an ideal balance of beautifully produced videography, good information, and great destinations. When I muse about a place I might like to go, I often quickly check to see if Expedia has put out a YouTube video on it. That is what makes them #1 on our list.
How about an honorary mention, a travel blog freebie, dear readers? Ok, so if you insist on watching a travel blogger’s YouTube channel, Matt Karsten’s Expert Vagabond channel is pretty darn good and one of my favorites:
His Afghanistan videos almost make me want to go there (but not quite). Though I will say, Matt, a true “expert” vagabond should look a little more comfortable smoking a cigar while riding a donkey in Cuba.